Tag Archives: toddler sleep training

5 Easy Ways To Start Sleep Training TONIGHT. (You Can Do #1 Right Now!)

3-6 MonthsIf you have been working on your baby or toddler’s sleep for any length of time, then you know that sleep coaching tends to take time. Sure, some parents see miraculous results overnight, but that’s the exception – it’s not the norm! For most of us, sleep coaching involves days or weeks of work before we see real, meaningful results. The work is worth it, of course – the payoff of a full night’s sleep is worth anything!

But sometimes, starting can just seem so daunting. What do you do first? Should you start with a nap, or with bedtime? Lots for an exhausted, sleep-deprived parent to consider!

As always, we are here to help. We know that sleep coaching can be an intimidating process to start, so we thought we’d help make it easier. Below are 5 things you can do tonight that will help kick off the sleep coaching process for you and your baby, and start your whole family on the road to better sleep. Think of this as your ‘quick win’ – you can put each of these strategies to work tonight – no waiting necessary!

5 Easy Ways To Start Sleep Training TONIGHT

  1. Identify your baby’s sleep associations. This is easy – you an do this right now, in just a few minutes! Think about how your baby or toddler typically falls asleep. Does she fall asleep while nursing, or drinking her bottle? Does she fall asleep while you rock her? Does she fall asleep on you, or in your arms? All of these are sleep associations – they are things your baby needs in order to fall asleep. The process of sleep training is simply weaning your baby away from her sleep associations, so that she can learn to fall asleep on her own, without outside help. Once you have identified your baby or toddler’s sleep associations, you have identified the problems that need fixing. That’s step one!
  2. Start a bedtime routine. If you haven’t already, start a bedtime routine tonight with your baby or toddler. It doesn’t have to be long (it shouldn’t be, actually – 15 minutes is sufficient!), and it doesn’t have to be complicated (again, it shouldn’t be – you want straightforward and simple). Read a few books, sing a lullaby, give kisses and cuddles, and then its lights out. Pledge to do this routine every night; that’s what puts the “routine” in bedtime routine. Once you have instituted a strong routine, it will help your baby or toddler better understand what’s expected of him at bedtime.
  3. Shorten your baby or toddler’s time spent with a particular sleep association. Now that you know how your baby or toddler falls asleep, work to shorten whatever association she has. For instance, if your baby needs to be rocked to sleep, try to cut back a little on the time you spend rocking her. If you typically rock her for 30 minutes, try rocking her for 20 and then holding her without any movement for 10. If you do this gradually, you will eventually (and gently!) wean your baby away from the nursing. Same with feeding your baby or toddler to sleep, or holding her until she falls asleep – slightly reduce the time you spend doing these things. This is the first step towards changing your baby or toddler’s sleep associations.
  4. Don’t race in when your baby or toddler starts crying after a night waking. I’m not telling you to let your baby cry-it-out. You may choose that method if you feel it’s best for you situation, but know that I’m not instructing you to do that, necessarily! Rather, I’m encouraging you to wait a few moments between the time you hear your baby or toddler cry and the time you pick him up. Remember, not every cry is truly a cry for help – some cries are simply noises that our babies or toddlers make as they briefly wake between sleep cycles. In those cases, if you were to wait a few minutes, you might find that your baby or toddler settles himself, without your help. So when you hear a cry tonight – just give it a minute. See if your baby or toddler can re-settle without you.
  5. Track the times of all night wakings. You can’t really know what you’re working towards, in terms of your baby nighttime sleep or daytime schedule, until you know what the current situation looks like. So tonight, and over the next few days, track the timing of everything. Make note of all night wakings. Write down bedtimes and wake times. Note all naps, including when they start and finish. Same with feedings. What you are doing here is starting your sleep log; that will become important as you continue to work on sleep training. A sleep log will show you any patterns or trends that may be happening in your baby or toddler’s sleep, and it will also help show you where you are making progress and where you need to continue to focus your efforts.

You Don’t Have To Sleep Train Alone

Remember that, while you certainly can sleep train your baby or toddler on your own, you don’t have to. That’s what we are here for! Sleep training can be tough, and hundreds of parents turn to us for sleep coaching help every month. We can help you, too! Take a look at our consultation packages, and see which one looks like a good fit for you.

Click here to see all our personalized consultation packages.

Once you purchase, you will immediately receive access to the Helpdesk, and you can set up your account, fill out your Family Sleep History form, submit it to a consultant, and get started on the journey to better sleep!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

Ready to start sleep coaching? What are your plans? Have you sleep trained before? How did you begin? Share your tips!

  • Feel like you can handle sleep coaching on your own? Why not take a look at our The 3-Step System To Help Your Baby Sleep? Available in three affordable packages, this book is designed to give you practical, hands-on tools you can use to help your baby learn to fall asleep on his own, and stay asleep (and stop fighting bedtime!). For toddlers, try The 5-Step System To Better Toddler Sleep. Best of all, both books is available to download instantly – you can put it to use as early as tonight!
  • Want an abundance of resources to help you in your sleep coaching? Consider becoming a Baby Sleep Site Member. Our Members Area is packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and teleseminars. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! And as a member, you have access to a once-a-week chat with one of our expert sleep consultants – ideal for those times when you need some expert advice! And the icing on the cake? Members enjoy 20% off all sleep consultation services. That savings alone can pay for the cost of membership!
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The Pacifier Trick Every Parent Should Know

Pacifier Tip Every Parent Should Know

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, for many of us, pacifiers are a necessity. It’s estimated that anywhere from 75% – 85% of babies and toddlers have used a pacifier for soothing at some point. And it’s understandable – pacifiers can be a great way to provide instant soothing, and to calm fussy, inconsolable babies or toddlers. (That’s the love ‘em part!)

But the problem is that pacifier use can quickly become habitual – before you know it, offering a pacifier occasionally for comfort turns into offering a pacifier constantly, so that you can get your baby or toddler to sleep. And that can turn into being woken multiple times each night by a little one who is screaming for you to come and replace the pacifier that fell out of her mouth. (That’s the hate ‘em part!)

We’ve written before about pacifiers and sleep: check out this article on pacifier basics, and this one on how and when to wean from the pacifier. But today, we’re taking a look at something new. Today, we’re talking about a super clever pacifier trick that every parent with a pacifier-loving little one at home should know.

What’s the trick? How does it work? Read on, readers – this one’s too good to miss!

‘The Dream Paci’ Tip, Care of The Hint Mama

Today’s pacifier tip actually comes from a friend of The Baby Sleep Site – it’s from Jennifer Saranow Schultz, also known as Hint Mama. Jennifer’s blog is known for its practical tips, designed to make parenting cheaper, easier, and (as she puts it) a bit more humorous!

All of Jennifer’s tips are great, but we were particularly excited about her ‘Dream Paci’ tip. We knew this was one that our own readers would appreciate. So, with Jennifer’s permission, we’re bringing The Dream Paci Tip to you today!

‘The Dream Paci’ Tip – How It Works

The Dream Paci Tip is basically a variation on the idea of a Dream Feed. Many of you are no doubt familiar with that idea – basically, you sneak into your baby’s room at night, after he’s fallen asleep, and wake him slightly. You wake him just enough to eat, but not so much that he’s entirely awake. The idea is that by ‘topping off’ with breastmilk or formula, you can actually increase the time between night feeds, and get a bit more sleep yourself.

The Dream Paci is similar – only it involves pacifiers, obviously ;). Here’s Hint Mama’s explanation (the post actually came from her husband — apparently, he handles their toddler’s night wakings. What a guy!) :)

…after several nights of waking up multiple times throughout the night to replace a missing pacifier, I followed a trick mentioned in many sleep training books and “sprinkled” multiple pacifiers (usually about six) in the crib when we said goodnight to our daughter. This “sprinkle,” which made it easy for our daughter to pick up a replacement pacifier in the middle of the night and go back to sleep without screaming, worked like a charm for about a month or so.

Then, our little pumpkin caught on to our trick and thought it would be a fun game to throw all the pacifiers out of the crib while she settled in for the night. Each evening, we could hear the sound of pacifiers bouncing on the ground one after the other, and she was back to waking up in the middle of the night screaming for us to come in and give her a pacifier.

And there was no question that she was doing this intentionally. One night, we watched on the video baby monitor as she pushed pacifiers through the holes in her crib onto the floor and even stood up to chuck one pacifier against the wall in her bedroom.

That’s when I came up with the “Dream Paci.” It works like this: Instead of putting all the pacifiers into our daughter’s crib when we tuck her in and she’s awake and aware that they are there, I now place two in the crib when she’s awake (and she throws these out of the crib as expected). Then, I tiptoe into her room later in the evening when she’s dreaming and fast asleep, and scatter the six pacifiers all around her crib.

If you decide to try The Dream Paci, however, just be sure that you don’t accidentally wake your baby or toddler up when you sneak into the room to do the pacifier sprinkle! That happened to Jennifer’s husband once:

So far, this trick has generally worked like a charm. The one exception: One night I woke our daughter up by accident when trying to sneak into her room. In retrospect, I probably went in before our daughter was fully asleep. So my advice to others trying to employ this trick would be to wait to do the dream paci until it’s been at least an hour from when your little one is asleep.

One final note, before we wrap up – remember that pacifier associations can be strong for lots of babies and toddlers. And while tips like this can be great solutions for some families, other families may find themselves in a position where they need to buckle down and solve the pacifier association once and for all. This is especially true for those families whose sleep is being seriously disrupted by the constant pacifier-related night wakings.

If you need to work on your baby or toddler’s pacifier associations, we’re here to help! This is a common issue, and it’s one our consultants have dealt with many times. Take a look at our consultation packages, and see which one looks like a good fit for you (hint – the Deluxe Package is the most popular!).

Click here to take a look at our consultation packages.

Once you purchase, you will immediately receive access to the Helpdesk, and you can set up your account, fill out your Family Sleep History form, submit it to a consultant, and get started on the journey to better sleep! It’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

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Speaking of Hint Mama – she’s hosting a Baby Sleep Site giveaway on her site right now! Head over and enter for your chance to win a 3-month Baby Sleep Site membership. Your membership will give you full access to The Baby Sleep Site’s Members Area, including all e-books, case studies, tele-seminars, and member chats!
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What do you think of The Dream Paci, readers? Have you tried something similar at home? Is this a tip you think would be helpful for your situation?

  • Want to tackle your little one’s pacifier association on your own? Why not take a look at our 3-Step System To Help Your Baby Sleep? Available in three affordable packages, this book is designed to give you practical, hands-on tools you can use to help your baby learn to fall asleep on her own, and stay asleep. Or, if you have a toddler at home, try our 5-Step System to Better Toddler Sleep. Best of all, both books are available to download instantly – you can put it to use as early as tonight!
  • Want an abundance of resources to help you in your sleep coaching? Consider becoming a Baby Sleep Site Member. Our Members Area is packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and teleseminars. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! And as a member, you have access to a once-a-week chat with one of our expert sleep consultants – ideal for those times when you need some expert advice! And the icing on the cake? Members enjoy 20% off all sleep consultation services. That savings alone can pay for the cost of membership!
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7 Reasons You May Need Personalized Baby and Toddler Sleep Help

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Personalized Baby and Toddler Sleep HelpEvery family is different, aren’t they? Different lifestyles, different priorities, different philosophies, different goals, different values…in my opinion, all these differences are what keep the world an interesting place!

And it’s because of all these differences that we’ve structured The Baby Sleep Site in the way that we have. If you’ve been a reader for long, then you know that we have all kinds of different resources available. Lots of those resources are what we call ‘do-it-yourself’ resources – they are designed to give you tips, techniques, and tools that you can put to use on your own, in order to solve your baby’s sleep problems.

But we have another kind of resource, too, and it’s a truly unique one. For parents who don’t want a ‘do-it-yourself’ approach, we offer our consultation services. Our consultation services allow parents to work directly with a trained sleep consultant – the consultant crafts a Personalized Sleep Plan™ and then helps the parents implement it at home. While mom and dad are still doing the ‘work’ of sleep coaching, they have the support and guidance of the consultant, and if changes need to be made to the plan, or if bumps in the road come along, the consultant is there to show mom and dad what to do next.

Sometimes, parents have a hard time knowing which ‘path’ is right for them – do they take the ‘do-it-yourself’ path, or do they opt for the ‘personalized help’ path? The answer is different for different families, of course, but we can usually tell which families will be able to get by on their own, and which families will likely end up needing personalized help.

And that’s the topic of today’s article – 7 reasons you may need personalized help.

7 Reasons You May Need Personalized Help For Your Baby or Toddler’s Sleep

Remember, this isn’t prescriptive – YOU get to determine what kind of help you need, not me! You know what’s best for your baby and for your family. :) Rather, this list is meant to be a help to those families who want to work on sleep but don’t know where to start, or who are struggling with their babies’ or toddlers’ sleep and don’t know what to try next.

  1. Your baby or toddler has medical concerns – If your baby or toddler has health or medical concerns, you might want to consider getting personalized help. Little ones with medical issues often need a customized sleep coaching plan that takes into account their unique health needs, and is created with a healthcare provider’s recommendations in mind.
  2. Your family has a unique lifestyle – Not every parent works a 9-5 schedule, and not every family lives in a traditional home. Our work with families over the years has shown us that there are as many ways to live as there are families under the sun! We’ve worked with parents who do shift work, families who live in multi-generational homes, families who travel overseas on a regular basis…you name it! And in unique situations like these, personalized help can be a real life-saver for parents. It makes a world of difference to have a sleep consultant understand your unique lifestyle and made sleep recommendations that will work with that lifestyle.
  3. You have twins or multiples – The traditional wisdom about baby sleep coaching definitely needs to be tweaked and modified for families who have twins or multiples! The basics still apply, of course, but when you have two babies waking each other up, or who are operating on different schedules, it helps to have a consultant standing by who can put a personalized spin on those sleep training basics.
  4. You want to keep breastfeeding during sleep coaching, but have concernsBreastfeeding and sleep coaching really can go together, as Miriam (our sleep consultant who’s also a certified lactation consultant) has explained before. But if you have any breastfeeding issues that may impact sleep training, or if you are concerned about your milk supply during the sleep coaching process, then it may be a good idea to go with personalized help. A consultant can take your current feeding schedule into account when developing your Personalized Sleep Plan™, and can make recommendations that will improve sleep while also ensuring that you are able to continue breastfeeding easily.
  5. Your toddler has significant sleep issues, and has had them since birth – This is not to say that parents of toddlers can’t solve their sleep issues without help – in some cases, they can! It’s just that it tends to be harder to sleep coach a toddler. Why? Because toddlers can walk and talk – and because they tend to have very strong wills! This means that in addition to all the work of sleep coaching, parents of toddlers often have a battle of wills to deal with, when they begin to work on their toddlers’ sleep. Plus, if your toddler has had napping issues and night-waking problems since birth, she’s had plenty of time to form deeply-ingrained sleep habits, and those can be tough to break. Toddler sleep coaching also tends to take a little longer than baby sleep coaching. For all these reasons, it may take a consultant helping you along through the process, and providing support and encouragement, in order to see real progress with your toddler’s sleep.
  6. You are committed to using a no-cry or low-cry sleep training approach – Again, sometimes, parents are able to sleep train on their own, using no-cry or low-cry approaches. But using gentle methods like these tends to be more involved for parents – there’s more ‘work’ to do, in some ways. And gentle methods typically take longer to produce results. For these reasons, parents can quickly become discouraged when using gentle methods, and can feel like all their effort is for nothing. In cases like these, personalized help from a consultant can make all the difference. A consultant can customize a no-cry or low-cry plan to fit your goals, and then can help you make adjustments to it as necessary. Plus, there’s as lot to be said for having someone you can just vent to, and who will listen and sympathize and encourage you!
  7. You have already read/tried everything, and nothing has worked – You’d be surprised how many of the families we work with fall into this category. We always say our clients are a smart bunch – usually, by the time they come to us for help, they’ve done quite a bit of sleep research already! Unfortunately, though, having loads of information doesn’t always mean that sleep coaching will be easy. If you feel like you’re at your wits end and have tried everything you can without success, you may want to consider personalized help. A consultant will be able to organize the information for you in a new way, and will provide a fresh perspective on your particular situation. And that can make all the difference.

Nicole’s Note:
“One other reason is when you don’t have much support at home or you need additional support. We work with families where Dad is gone a lot (usually working) or isn’t as involved in the daily activity and we also have families who have moved far away from extended family and need additional support. We become a part of your ‘village.’ :)”

Ready to get personalized help for your baby or toddler’s sleep? Our sleep consultants are standing by! Browse our list of consultation package options, make your choice, and after you purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

How are you tackling (or how have you tackled) sleep coaching in your family? Do-It-Yourself, or With Personalized Help? Have any questions about getting personalized help for your baby? Share them in the comments section below!

 
 
 

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5 Steps For Handling Sleep Training Criticism From Family and Friends

5 Steps For Handling Sleep Training CriticismThose of you who have done it yourselves will no doubt give a big nod to what I’m about to say:

Sleep training is work.

It’s work that is worth doing, mind you, and (provided you have plenty of resources and support), it is work that can go smoothly and can be completed in a reasonable amount of time. But it’s still work.

Given this fact, I think it’s safe to say that none of us need our friends, co-workers, or family members to make the step-by-step process of sleep training any more difficult or challenging. And yet, as some of you know from first-hand experience, sometimes our friends, co-workers, and family members do just that – they heap criticism and guilt on us at at time when we are already feeling vulnerable and stressed.

How do we handle this? What do we do when the people in our lives criticize our decisions about sleep training? That’s what we’re taking a look at today – a 5-step approach to handling this kind of criticism.

5 Steps For Handling Sleep Training Criticism From Family and Friends

  1. Consider the source. Is this loving, constructive criticism coming from someone you love and trust, or is it a harsh critique coming from someone who’s an acquaintance, and who doesn’t know your situation well? This will obviously make a big difference in how you receive and respond to what’s being said.
  2. Keep an open mind, and look for truth. It’s safe to ignore harsh, hurtful criticism – people offering that aren’t actually trying to help. And you can probably also ignore critiques that come from people who don’t know you or your family well. But if the criticism in question is coming from someone you love and trust, and if it’s being framed in a gentle and loving way, then it might be worth considering. Try to really hear what’s being said, and determine as best you can whether or not there’s a grain of truth in it. After all, constructive criticism may actually be helpful, and sometimes, people close to us may have good insights into our sleep training situations, since they aren’t as ‘close to the action’ as we are.

    I remember, when my oldest son was about 6 weeks old, a well-meaning friend gave me a copy of a popular sleep training book. I read it immediately (I’m a Type-A overachiever like that), and, upon finishing it, I instantly felt stressed out. I started trying to apply all the advice in the book at once, right away – I was trying to create a clock-based feeding and sleeping schedule, I was trying to break my son’s sleep associations and put him down drowsy-but-awake…and in the process, I was driving myself crazy!

    Finally, my sweet and wonderful mother gently suggested that perhaps I should just forget the book for the time being, and enjoy my son. She pointed out that all of the ‘rules’ I’d created for myself and for my son were completely robbing me of the joy of being a new mom. Her criticism was constructive and loving, and eventually, I came to the conclusion that she was right.

  3. Decide on your own course of action. If there are some nuggets of truth in the criticism you are hearing (the way there were in my mom’s words to me), then decide what you’re going to do about that. Are you going to change course? Try a different sleep training method? Stop sleep training for a bit, and start again later? Of course, if there isn’t a grain of truth in your friends’ or family members’ criticism, and if you know that your approach is healthy and good for your family, then it’s probably best to stick to your plans and not change anything.
  4. Decide how you will respond. This is your call, of course – you know the people in your life better than I do! But here are a few suggestions. First, if the criticism is coming from a casual acquaintance, you can always offer something vague, like “Thanks!”, and leave it at that. It’s unlikely that person will follow up with you, to see if you’ve followed their advice. If the criticism is harsh or rude, do your best not to respond in kind. Try to frame some kind of civil answer (such as, “Thanks, but we’re doing what we think is best”), or just don’t respond at all. For advice that comes from close friends and family members, and that’s framed in a constructive way, it may be good to ask follow-up questions. Ask your friend or relative why they hold the opinion they do. Engage them in discussion. Who knows – you may both end up learning something new!
  5. Don’t get discouraged, and don’t give up! Obviously, your sleep training journey would be made much easier if everyone around you supported you in a loving fashion, offering encouragement and help. However, we know that many of you are not in these kinds of ideal situations. And so to you, we say this: don’t get discouraged, and don’t give up! Remain as consistent as you can. Shut out the negative voices, and draw close to those people who are actually trying to help. We promise that in the end, the hard work you put in now will reap big rewards. :)

Did you face (or are you facing) criticism from friends and family members regarding your sleep training choices? Tell us about how you’ve responded to it!

Need help in your sleep training journey? Not to worry – that’s what we’re here for!

  • Need more sleep training resources? We have a ton! Browse our list of e-books and e-book packages, designed to help your baby, toddler, or newborn develop better sleeping habits. We even have a book that’s designed just for parents who want to work on naps! These are perfect solutions for parents who want to sleep train on their own, but need more information.
  • Want Unlimited Product Access? Join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and teleseminars. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! And as a member, you have access to a once-a-week chat with one of our expert sleep consultants – ideal for those times when you need some expert advice!.
  • Need Personalized Help? For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations, where you will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan™ you can feel good about! Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a plan. Sometimes you’re just too tired to.
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Your Sleep Training Cheat Sheet – 5 Sleep Training Methods Explained

Your Sleep Training Cheat Sheet

One common misconception about sleep training is that there’s only one way to do it. But this could not be further from the truth! In reality, there are a number of ways parents can work to help their babies develop healthy sleep habits. Some involve crying, but others involve minimal (or no) tears, and are very gentle.

So what methods should you try with your baby? To help you answer that question, we’ve created a sleep training ‘cheat sheet’, complete with a list of the most common sleep training techniques as well as explanations of how they work.

5 Common Sleep Training Techniques

Fading

This is a very gentle, no-cry (or very little cry) method of sleep training. With the Fading method, you continue to help your baby fall asleep (by rocking or feeding to sleep, for instance), but over time, you gradually do less and less of the ‘work’ to put your baby to sleep, and your baby does more and more. For instance, if you normally rock your baby completely to sleep, you may shorten the amount of time you rock each night, until you are rocking for only a few minutes. This method requires lots of patience on the parents’ part, but it’s great for families who want to minimize crying as much as possible.
 
 

Pick-Up-Put-Down

This is another gentle technique. The PUPD method works just the way it sounds: when it’s time to sleep, and your baby is fussing in his crib or bassinet, you pick him up and comfort him until he’s calm and drowsy. Then, you put him back in his crib to sleep, repeating this cycle until your baby is finally asleep. PUPD is another method that requires lots of patience, and it won’t work for every baby; some babies find being picked up and put down so often overstimulating, and they gradually become worked up, instead of relaxed.
 
 

Chair Method

This method involves more tears than the previous two; however, you don’t leave your baby unattended in the room at all. Here’s how the chair method works: start by doing your normal bedtime routine. Then, put a chair very near the crib and sit on it while your baby falls asleep. The goal is not to help your child fall asleep, nor to help her calm down. You are generally not supposed to give your child any attention. The reason you are in the chair is only to reassure them that you are there with them. Each night you move the chair further and further away from the crib until you are right outside the door, and eventually, when you no longer need the chair, at all.

As you might suspect, this method can be very difficult, depending on temperament, and can take many days or weeks. It can be difficult to avoid engaging with your child, and it will likely be a little confusing to the child (particularly younger ones) when you don’t. However, with time and consistency, this can be a good option for parents who do not want to leave their child alone to cry but who haven’t had success with other methods, either.
 
 

Check-And-Console (aka ‘Ferberizing’)

This is considered a ‘cry’ method of sleep training. This technique entails allowing baby to cry while checking on him at intervals. The goal here is to reassure him every so often that you are nearby, and to reassure yourself that he is okay. When you go to check on baby, you are not supposed to pick him up nor engage him much, but simply reassure using your voice and a loving pat for 2-3 minutes, tops (watch the clock!). With this method, the goal is NOT to help baby fall asleep – that is what he is learning to do on his own! Instead, the idea is that he falls asleep on his own, in the same “environment” in which he will awaken periodically throughout the night. The knowledge of how to fall asleep unassisted at bedtime will pave the way for him/her to go BACK to sleep throughout the night. Over time, you gradually increase the amount of time between your ‘checks’. The first night, you might check on your baby every 10 minutes; the next night, you would check every 15 minutes. Continue increasing your ‘check’ intervals by about 5 minutes every night.
 
 

Extinction (aka ‘Cry It Out’)

This sleep training technique involves lots of crying on your baby’s part. The way it works is simple – you do your bedtime routine, put your baby to bed awake, and then leave the room without returning for checks. If your baby cries, you do not go in to check on her; instead, you let her ‘cry it out’ on her own. The thinking here is that if you allow your baby to cry for a period of time, but then go in and ‘rescue’ her, you have all but guaranteed that she will cry for that amount of time the next night, because she will expect you to come and rescue her again.

Reminders About Sleep Training

There is no right or wrong method of sleep training; it all comes down to your unique baby, and your unique parenting style. What works well for some babies does not work well for others, so do not be surprised if the techniques your friends or family members recommend don’t work the same way for your baby. The bottom line is to pick a technique that you feel comfortable with, and that you think will work well with your baby’s temperament.

Nicole’s Note:
“There are many variations to any sleep training method. For example, you can do a cross between The Chair Method and PUPD with great success and fewer tears! There are also ways of breaking each method into smaller baby steps, which we recommend very often. Find what feels tolerable (because, frankly, no one ‘likes’ to sleep train), more comfortable for you, and what seems the gentlest, yet effective, on your baby, depending on his or her temperament and personality.”

No matter which method you choose, remember that you need to stick with it for at least one week (preferably two) before you decide it’s not working and give up. Some babies take awhile to adjust to a new way of sleeping. And remember that, with ANY sleep training method, consistency is key!

NOTE: This is by no means an exhaustive description of each of these sleep training techniques! For more details about each of these techniques, or for personalized help in implementing any of these methods at home, check out the list of resources below.

Which of these sleep training methods have you tried? Which have worked for you, and which haven’t! Share your sleep training story with us!

Need help sleep coaching your baby? Check out these helpful resources:

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The Best Time to Sleep Train Your Baby: Ideal Sleep Coaching Windows

Your Baby's Ideal Sleep Coaching WindowsAs parents, we always want sleep coaching to go as well as possible, right from the start. That’s why we make sure to wait until our babies are old enough for sleep training (4 months or older), why we carefully select sleep training methods that fit our parenting styles and our babies’ temperaments, why we don’t sleep train during big transitions (like moving) or illnesses, and why we prepare for sleep coaching before we start.

One of the ways to ensure that sleep coaching goes as smoothly as possible is to do it during a window of time in which it will be easier. That’s right — there are times during your baby’s growth and development when she is better prepared for sleep training (and, conversely, times when sleep training may be bit harder).

What are these ‘ideal sleep coaching windows’? We’re glad you asked!

Your Baby’s Ideal Sleep Coaching Windows

You can sleep train your baby (or toddler!) any time, of course. But it may be a bit easier if you do it during one of these windows:
 

The 4-7 month window

This is the earliest that parents should start any kind of formal sleep training; it’s also the best time to start, for many families (although not all). Why? Because at this point, your baby is past the 4 month sleep regression, so she’s starting to develop more “adult” sleep patterns. Your baby is also much less mobile at this stage than she’ll be in a few more months, and that lack of mobility makes sleep training a bit easier. Finally, because your baby is still quite young at this point, any sleep associations she may have formed won’t have had time to turn into strong habits. That means they’ll be easier to change.
 

The 11-16 month window

This isn’t as ideal a time to sleep coach as the 4-7 month window, but if you skip that one, this is the next one to try. Why? Because you’re baby is past the sleep regression that happens at 8/9/10 months, and her sleep patterns should be back to normal. (Although if your baby has never been a great sleeper, her “normal” sleep patterns may be fairly crazy!) Remember, it’s best to sleep coach when things are as normal as possible, so waiting until a sleep regression has passed can be a good idea.

Less Ideal Times For Sleep Coaching

In general, it’s best to avoid sleep training during a sleep regression. And, if possible, try to sleep coach before your little one is 18 months old; after 18 months, your toddler’s growing sense of independence and willfullness might make sleep training tougher.

But be careful: don’t let this information paralyze you, or make you put off or give up on sleep training! While sleep training may go a little more smoothly if you do it during one of these two windows, you can sleep train any time. Here’s Nicole’s reminder:

Nicole’s Note:
“Although there are more ‘ideal’ times to sleep train than others such as before your baby can pull up and stand at the side of the crib, if you and your family are ready to make big changes, I wouldn’t wait just because of your baby or toddler’s age. Every baby is different and you know your baby best. It may take a bit more time and patience, but it can work! There is always a reason to put off making positive changes in your life whether it’s delaying a diet, because the holidays are near or work is too busy or you put off budgeting because you have too many bills, you can always find a reason to avoid the hard work that sleep training sometimes entails. The first step is the hardest, but I find families are happily surprised when their child adapts to the new routines faster than they anticipated. Carpe Diem! (Seize the Day!)”

We’ve shared our sleep training tips – now share yours! Questions about sleep training? Ask in the comments section below.

Need sleep training help? Please be sure to pick up your FREE copy of 5 (tear-free) Ways to Help Your Child Sleep Through the Night, our e-Book with tear-free tips to help your baby sleep better. For those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3-Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep (babies) or The 5-Step System to Better Toddler Sleep (toddlers). Using a unique approach and practical tools for success, our e-books help you and your baby sleep through the night and nap better. Or, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and teleseminars. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations, where you will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan™ you can feel good about! Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a plan. Sometimes you’re just too tired to.

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How These Sleep Deprived Parents Kept Their Sense of Humor

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“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.” –Kurt Vonnegut

Readers, we are switching gears today and bringing you something a little different. Over the past few years, we have filled this blog to the brim with practical tips and suggestions about all things sleep. Here, you will find advice about encouraging better naps, solutions for nighttime waking, strategies for navigating sleep regressions, insights about managing common toddler transitions, recommended daily sleep and feeding schedules….and the list goes on.

But sometimes, in the midst of working through your baby’s nighttime waking, or your toddler’s persistent sleep problems, you just need to take a mental break. Not necessarily a break from the actual sleep training (although that’s necessary sometimes) — just a mental break. A moment to think about something besides your little one’s sleep issues. A moment to rest from the schedule-making and sleep training.

A moment to laugh, perhaps.

Well, you are in luck, readers, because today, laughs are exactly what we’re serving up! We have spent the last few months collecting funny stories and quotes from our Baby Sleep Site™ clients. These quotes are from actual parents, who are going though the same sleep-related challenges and trials that you’re working through in your own home.

While these humorous insights from other parents probably won’t do a thing to solve your child’s sleep problems, they are bound to help you remember that you are not alone in your sleep-related struggles. What’s more, they will almost certainly make you crack a smile; and that, in turn, might just make sleep training feel a little easier today. :)

Funny Quotes About Sleep Training From Sleep-Deprived Parents Just Like You!

Feel like your baby or toddler is persistent beyond belief? Like perhaps his determination to NOT sleep might qualify him for some kind of world record? This parent can sympathize:

“Is my child persistent? Yes. Like an apex predator. He will not stop. Ever.”

If sleep training sometimes feels like full-blown torture to you, guess what? You’re not the only one:

“Forget water boarding. Terrorists should be subjected to sleep training a toddler.”

We remind our clients often that personality (both theirs and their baby’s or toddler’s) plays a role in sleep training. We LOVED this parent’s explanation of her baby’s personality:

“Personality? To sum it up: If she could walk, talk, and drive, I am convinced that she would walk outside right now, get into the car, and drive herself to Las Vegas for a night on the town. She would immediately make friends on the strip, learn to play poker, win some cash, charm her way into all the night clubs, and spend the evening socializing and eating, with a few short breaks for much needed (but totally inconvenient) sleep sessions.

This is cool, but NOT for a 4 month old.”

Of course, plenty of parents adore their babies’ and toddlers’ personalities (that is, when those babies and toddlers aren’t throwing exhaustion-induced screaming fits!):

“Her sleep is the only thing we want to change in our child. Really, she’s an angel by day…but she’s the dark angel of sleep deprivation by night!” :)

Ever resorted to co-sleeping out of sheer desperation? So have many, many of our readers and clients! Of course, sometimes the “co-sleeping” turns out to look a bit different than the parents had originally intended:

“Usually, our baby sleeps in bed with us. (Our bed is a king-sized mattress on the floor). Recently, we moved ourselves into sleeping bags on the floor, next to the bed, and left our baby on the mattress. We hoped this would help her sleep better, and would keep us from waking her up. It hasn’t worked. Now, there’s nothing in the bed but her. Just a tiny baby all alone in a giant king-sized bed.”

Of course, some parents feel a bit sad about weaning their little ones off co-sleeping. But those parents are usually quick to say that they will not miss some of the “side effects” of co-sleeping:

“She is very cuddly, so I’m a bit sad about this. But I’m also ready to sleep! And maybe to not be kicked in the head so much. And to not have to keep one eye open for the nights when she turns into a lemming and tries to fling herself off the bed.”

Lots of parents rely heavily on their partners and spouses for help during the sleep training process. This can be great! But when your partner or spouse is missing-in-action at bedtime? That can be bad news:

“My husband usually carries our daughter around on his shoulder until she falls asleep. If he’s not around, we’re all doomed.”

Sometimes, though, a spouse or partner needs some sleep help themselves! That is the case for this client, who says that her husband always has something more important to do than catching up on his sleep:

“Can you include recommendations about rest for him in the sleep plan, so he’ll see that it IS important to be rested in order to properly implement sleep training? I may have to resort to drugging him otherwise…”

It’s no secret that sleep training takes a toll on poor mom and dad, right? The constant sleep deprivation and nighttime waking can make even the most optimistic parents begin to despair:

“I used to be a bright, happy person who took care of herself and went to the gym at least 5 days a week. Now, I’m in a constant mental fog. I have no energy and feel accomplished if I manage to shower and put on a clean t-shirt or a fresh pair of yoga pants. Honestly, you’d think I do a lot of working out for all the workout clothes I wear.”

Chronic exhaustion can also drive parents to try some downright crazy pre-bedtime rituals:

“After we put our daughter in her crib, we make a farting noise at her. For some reason, she loves that noise!”

And let’s be honest – sleep-deprivation can turn even the sweetest mommies into something else entirely:

“I am an insufferable b*#%@ when I don’t get enough rest.”

There you have it, moms and dads – further proof that you are not alone! (And that it is possible to keep your sense of humor while sleep training your baby or toddler! ;))

Any funny stories about sleep training you’d like to share with us? Leave them in the comments section; if we get enough, we’ll do another ‘funny quotes’ article!

Ready to have some funny sleep-training stories of your own? We can help you get started! Please be sure to pick up your FREE copy of 5 (tear-free) Ways to Help Your Child Sleep Through the Night, our e-Book with tear-free tips to help your baby sleep better. For those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3-Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep (babies) or The 5-Step System to Better Toddler Sleep (toddlers). Using a unique approach and practical tools for success, our e-books help you and your baby sleep through the night and nap better. For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations, where you will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan™ you can feel good about! Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a plan. Sometimes you’re just too tired to.

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Helping Toddlers Better Understand How to Sleep and a Giveaway!

YellowFishAsleep_1000x1000Greetings from ZAZOO KiDS! We are so pleased to be here on The Baby Sleep Site® today. We have long admired The Baby Sleep Site community for their values that run so parallel to our own: good sleep, for the entire family, is an important piece of the path to happy, healthy lives.

One prevalent piece of the parenthood discussion is the challenge that surrounds newborn and infant sleep schedules. New mothers and fathers are counseled from every angle on how to best help their newborn babies sleep through the night, as quickly as possible. We have noticed, however, that the conversation often ends there. But as every parent knows, all infants become toddlers, and often, bedtime difficulties continue coming up well into childhood.

Toddlers are in a period of discovery and sometimes they just want to keep playing and learning – past their bedtime. Often, toddlers who suffer from chronic ear infections or other health issues develop a habitual tendency to wake up through the night, even after they have healed. Toddlers are also at a developmental point that invites separation anxiety and night terrors into their sleep lives. While the things that cause infants to wake up are usually rooted in survival –like hunger or pain – toddlers have reached a different stage and should be treated accordingly.

Some parents even express, incredulously, that their toddlers seemed to sleep much better when they were babies. There is good news, however, to pair with these challenges. Along with the toddler’s increased development comes an increased capacity to learn behaviors and expectations. The secret to helping a toddler sleep through the night lies in managing their understanding of sleep expectations and how to meet them.

The tricks to training toddlers in sleep are simpler than you might imagine.

Consistent naptimes. Consistent bedtimes.

Toddlers have a biological clock just like their parents, and sticking to the same times for sleep every day helps their minds understand when to relax and fall into slumber. Consistency is everything.

Cold water.

Give your toddlers a glass of water to keep by their bedside, and teach them that if they are having trouble falling back to sleep, a refreshing sip of it will do the trick. They will learn this habit and administer it to themselves – while you sleep through the night.

The Bedtime Routine.

You have heard this before, and not without reason. A bedtime routine helps anyone relax, settle down and prepare the brain for sleep, especially toddlers.

Comfort Objects

We think comfort objects aren’t such a bad idea. With the knowledge that toddlers often suffer from separation anxiety, why not allow them to have a comforting blanket or stuffed animal next to them in the dark hours of the morning?

Clock Training.

Owls_GNgirl_1000x1000 (2)At ZAZOO, we have created a business around the need for kids (and their parents) to sleep better. Consider using our clock to help your child sleep through the night. It shows children the time, even before they can understand it, but quickly switches to an image that is easily recognizable as “awake time” or “rest time.” We find that some kids even take pride in learning to distinguish the correct time, and its associated behavior, all by themselves. The clock enables toddlers to meet sleep expectations with visual guidance.

The ZAZOO Photo Clock is best introduced between the ages of 18 and 36 months, depending on the child’s developmental status and maturity level. Their ability to associate the time they see with the image they see will become apparent to you through reading and other activities.

Don’t be alarmed if you try the clock and your child doesn’t show interest; instead, change the settings. The clock is designed to be personalized – upload family photos and favorite songs to make it engaging, and use creative approaches like making the “rest time” image a picture of the child using it!

Incorporate the Photo Clock into your child’s life at nighttime, when it’s meant to be used. Review what the images mean together as if you are reading a bedtime story, and make it part of the regular bedtime routine. Ask your child to verbally repeat to you what the “sun photo” means, for example, by saying “The sun means it’s okay to get out of bed!” With some practice, you will see great rewards from the Photo Clock – more rest for you and your kids!

If you’re a tired parent struggling with toddler sleep issues, hang in there. There are solutions to your problem and it will get better! We hope these tips, along with our Photo Clock, provide some of the relief that you need. Happy resting!

About ZAZOO KiDS: The award-winning ZAZOO Photo Clock is an innovative sleep solution for children who wake up too early or don’t stay in bed all night. The contemporary ZAZOO Photo Clock lets your child know it’s time to wake when the sun is displayed and time to stay in bed when the moon is displayed. There is even a convenient nap-time setting.

Parents can use the pre-programmed image options or easily personalize the awake and asleep images. Ensuring years of use, the ZAZOO Photo Clock includes features such as: rotating photo frame, music, audio book, alarm clock and video capabilities. The ZAZOO Photo Clock now includes music from children’s artists from coast-to-coast in an amazing 11-song compilation that’s built into the memory of the Photo Clock. Or, upload your own tunes or audiobooks.

ZAZOO KiDS has kindly offered to giveaway one of their photo clocks to a Baby Sleep Site reader. See below for the options for entering the giveaway.

You can enter the giveaway today through 8:59 pm EST on August 18, 2013. *Open to US Entrants Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Why Consistency Is So Important During Sleep Training

Consistency-Sleep-Training

Based on lots and lots of experience in working with parents over the years, we here at The Baby Sleep Site™ have found something to be true: when used with consistency, the right sleep training method can work wonders for a baby’s nighttime sleep problems, or a toddler’s persistent sleep issues. The two key words in that statement? ‘Consistency’ and ‘Right’.

Finding the Right Sleep Training Method

It’s important that you find a sleep training method that works for both you and your baby. Not every sleep training technique works for every baby, or for every parent. The Pick-Up-Put-Down (PUPD) method advocated by Tracy Hogg, for instance (a method in which you pick up your baby when she’s fussy and put her back in her crib to sleep when she’s calm), works well for some babies. Others, however, get totally overstimulated by being picked up so often, and end up becoming increasingly upset.

Or take some of the cry-it-out methods. Some parents report that cry-it-out techniques helped their babies overcome their sleep problems in a matter of days. But other parents have let us know that cry-it-out methods simply do.not.work with their little ones. What’s more, some parents feel uncomfortable using cry-it-out techniques. In those cases, cry-it-out is not a technique that will work for their babies, since it’s not a technique that works for them as parents.

The right sleep training technique is one that works for both your baby and for you and is one that you can commit to doing. This means that, when considering sleep training techniques, you’ll need to take into account both your baby’s temperament and personality, as well as your own parenting philosophy.

Remaining Consistent in Sleep Training

If it’s important to find the right sleep training method for your baby, then it’s downright critical to remain consistent in your sleep training. This is so key, but it’s something that a lot of parents struggle with.

And that’s understandable. Some sleep training techniques require a lot of patience and a lot of time before they start to produce results. The fading method, for example (in which you slowly do less and less of the “work” to put your child to sleep, and your child does more and more) can take awhile to start working, and it demands a lot of patience on the part of parents. In cases like this, it can feel hard (or maybe impossible) to stay the course and remain consistent.

Other parents find it hard to stay consistent because of the way their babies or toddlers react to sleep training. Most of you know this first-hand by now, but it’s worth emphasizing: sleep training will almost always involve at least a little bit of crying. It doesn’t have to be full-blown cry-it-out, by any means, but even the gentlest techniques often involve a minimal amount of crying. And since no parent enjoys the sound of their child in distress, it can feel excruciating to remain consistent while your child fusses or cries.

But here’s the thing: sleep training won’t work unless you’re consistent. This goes for other aspects of parenting too, doesn’t it? Like discipline, for example. Let’s say you’re trying to teach your baby not to touch electrical cords (a very wise thing to teach!) Imagine if you spent three days strictly enforcing your new “don’t touch electrical cords” rule, only to give up on day four and not say a thing when your baby grabs the lamp cord with both hands and starts tugging. This is confusing for your baby; why was it wrong one day but fine the next? As a result of this mixed message, he won’t learn the “don’t touch electrical cords” lesson nearly as quickly as he would if you’d been consistent in enforcing the rule.

The same is true for sleep training. For instance, lets say you’ve been rocking your baby to sleep for months now, but want to wean her from that sleep association. For the first three days, you rock her for a few minutes before naps and bed, but then put her in her crib while she’s still drowsy but awake. This is a great start! But if you give up on day four, and rock her straight to sleep for naps and bed, you’re sending your baby a confusing mixed message. This kind of inconsistency will totally set you back in your efforts to help her learn to sleep through the night.

Why Is Consistency So Important During Sleep Training?

Why is consistency so key? Because people (both children and adults) need plenty of time and space to practice a new skill. And in many ways, that’s what sleeping through the night is for your baby or toddler – a new skill. Think about the times you’ve had to learn something new. You probably made lots of mistakes in the beginning, and felt frustrated. But over time, you figured it out. Now imagine if, just a few hours or days into your learning process, someone had stepped in and taken over, and started doing for you the very thing you were learning to do yourself.

It reminds me of a time in college, when a friend of mine was learning to drive her new car. It had a manual transmission, and she had only ever driven an automatic. A well-meaning mutual friend took her out for a lesson, but after a few hours, he couldn’t handle it anymore! The grinding of the gears, the stalling out on hills…finally, he made her pull over so he could drive the car back to campus himself.

In our sleep training analogy, my friend’s driving instructor was like the parent who gets overwhelmed with sleep training, finally saying, “I’ll just take care of this myself” and rocking the baby to sleep. It’s an understandable reaction (no one likes the sound of a fussy baby, just as no one likes the sounds of grinding car gears!), but ultimately, in both scenarios, no one learned anything new. My friend couldn’t learn to drive her new car unless she had the time and space to practice; your baby can’t learn to sleep through the night unless he the same.

So think about it this way: when you’re consistent in your sleep training, you’re giving your baby time and space to practice a new skill. The learning process may not be easy; it may involve some crying, and it may take longer than you’d like. But this is how learning often works.

When ‘Right’ and ‘Consistent’ Collide

Here’s the tricky part: ‘finding the right method’ and ‘staying consistent’ might seem to conflict with each other sometimes. For example, let’s say that you’re a few days into trying a new sleep training technique, and it doesn’t seem to be working at all. Your baby is fussy and cranky, she’s not sleeping any better than she was before you started, and you’re at the end of your rope. And you find yourself faced with a dilemma:

“Maybe this method isn’t right for her? Should I give up and try something else? But then again, maybe I need to give it a few more days…I don’t want to be inconsistent…ACK! WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?!”

This is so, so normal. Here’s our advice: if you’re trying a new sleep training technique, stick with it for at least one whole week. (If you’re sleep training a toddler, you may need to give it two or three weeks). If, at the end of the week, your little one has shown absolutely zero improvement, and is resisting your efforts in a big way, then you can consider trying something new.

Many of us know first-hand how hard consistency during sleep training can be, don’t we? Share your sleep training story with us, and let us know how you managed to stay consistent even when it was tough.

If you need some help and guidance in sleep coaching your little one, please be sure to pick up your FREE copy of 5 (tear-free) Ways to Help Your Child Sleep Through the Night, our e-Book with tear-free tips to help your baby sleep better. For those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3-Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep (babies) or The 5-Step System to Better Toddler Sleep (toddlers). Using a unique approach and practical tools for success, our e-books help you and your baby sleep through the night and nap better. For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations, where you will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan™ you can feel good about! Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a plan. Sometimes you’re just too tired to.

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5 MORE Things You Need To Know About Baby and Toddler Naps

Sleeping Baby Girl
Last month, we brought you a napping “cheat sheet” — 5 things you need to know about your baby’s or toddler’s naps. Since many of you found that nap list so helpful, we’re bringing you a new one this month — 5 more things you need to know about baby and toddler naps (it’s amazing how much there is to share about baby sleep! :D).

Let’s dive in!

5 More Things You Need To Know About Baby and Toddler Naps

  1. On-the-go, “moving” naps aren’t as restorative as naps that happen at home, in bed. This might come as a bit of a surprise, but it’s true — naps that happen “on the go” (in a moving car, for example, or in a moving stroller or shopping cart) aren’t as restorative as naps that happen on a non-moving surface (like a bed). They aren’t as long, for one thing, and during a “moving” nap, your baby’s or toddler’s sleep won’t be as deep. The occasional on-the-go nap isn’t a big deal, of course; sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do. But if the majority of your baby’s or toddler’s naps are happening in the car, or in a stroller, you may need to rethink your daytime routines and schedule.
  2. It’s possible for your baby or toddler to nap too much. Yes, we realize that this particular “problem” doesn’t plague most of you. ;) But it’s true; some babies and toddlers nap too much, and it negatively affects their nighttime sleep. How much nap time sleep is too much? You can check out this article for details, but here’s a fast breakdown:

    *INFANT STAGE (birth – 4 months) — newborns will sleep 14-18 total hours during the day. To maximize nighttime sleep, limit naps to two hours, and try to keep your baby awake for 30 minutes between naps. (Need help with newborn sleep? Take a look at our newborn e-Book.)

    *BABY STAGE (4-12 months) – babies need 13-15 total hours of sleep during the day. 2-4 of these hours should be naps (depending on how much sleep your baby is getting at night.)

    *TODDLER STAGE (12 months – 3 or 4 years) – 1-3 hours of total naptime is considered normal and healthy.

  3. Educate yourself on when common nap transitions occur, and how to manage them. Nap transitions are likely to occur at the following times:

    *3-4 MONTHS – baby transitions from 5 naps to 4.
    *5-6 MONTHS – baby transitions from 4 naps to 3.
    *8-9 MONTHS – baby transitions from 3 naps to 2.
    *15-18 MONTHS – toddler transitions from 2 naps to 1.

    As for how to handle these nap transitions? Be sure to read through this article from some hands-on, practical tips on how to manage them well.

  4. If a nap just isn’t happening, know when to give up and try again later. We end up dispensing this advice quite often to our consultation clients who we are working on nap training: don’t waste too much time trying to make a nap happen. After about an hour, it’s okay to give up and wait for the next nap window to come along before trying again. No sense in spending 3 hours trying to force an afternoon nap to happen — at that point, you’re probably closer to bedtime than you are to naptime!
  5. When your toddler is finally done taking naps, consider replacing nap time with “rest time”. It’s always a little sad when your toddler finally ages out of his naps. Gone are those one or two hours of peace, when mom or dad could get some work done, catch up on chores, or take a nap themselves! However, the end of nap time doesn’t have to mean the end of your afternoon peace and quiet. Simply replace nap time with rest time. I’ve done this with my boys (and Nicole did it with hers), and let me tell you — it’s a beautiful thing.

    What does rest time look like? That will vary from family to family, of course, but here’s how rest time goes in my house: after lunch, my boys retire to separate rooms, where they’re allowed to read books, do puzzles, and play quietly with toys. It usually lasts about an hour (although on days when I feel like I’ve used up all my patience and sweetness by noon, it lasts a bit longer! ;)) My boys are past the toddler years now; one’s a preschooler, and one’s in kindergarten. But this is the nice thing about rest time — it can extend well into the elementary school years. Win!

    This time of solitude is good for your child; it gives her time to unwind. It also gives her a chance to learn how to occupy and entertain herself, which (in my opinion, at least) is a great skill for a child to have. And, of course, it gives you a much-needed break in the middle of the day.

As always, if you need help working through your baby’s or toddler’s napping problems, we’re here for you! We offer an e-book devoted entirely to helping parents overcome their babies’ or toddlers’ napping issues; take a look!

Are you working through any of these nap situations? Any tips or advice to offer other parents who are struggling with naps? Chime in and let us know by commenting below!

Ready to get your baby or toddler napping like a champ? First, make sure you are not making these pesky 7 Common Napping Mistakes and/or check out Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-to” of good baby sleep. With over 40 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style. For those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep (for babies) or The 5 Step System to Better Toddler Sleep (for toddlers). Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night. Have a newborn at home? Download our free guide on newborn sleep, 15 Baby Sleep Facts New Parents Need To Know, or purchase a copy of our comprehensive e-Book on newborn sleep, Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep. Or, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and teleseminars. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations. Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a sleep plan; sometimes you’re just close to the situation or too tired to!

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